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DIY drilling a water well in the garden - for watering the veg

The title says it all really.

I already harvest, store, and reuse, rainwater from the roof, ca 200 square meter of roof and 3 cubic meter of storage. This seems a lot but it's a small amount compared to all the water my tomatoes need. So I'm toying with the idea of DIY drilling a well in the garden, say 6m deep. It should be cheap and simple. I'm fine spending max 300 eur for the whole thing, and several hours of hard labor myself. In the worst case it's just cash spent to get fit. B)

Anyone here has done something similar and is happy to share experience?




  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,531
    It rather depends whether the water is there in the first place! Do you have good reason to believe that there is underground water you could tap into, and would you be allowed to do so? Even in a rural area things are not always as simple as they seem and you might be interfering with someone else's supply.
    What is the geology below ground? Would you be dealing with unstable ground or rock or something else? And what if you found more water than you could deal with?
    Where I live there is plenty of ground water and our house is supplied with water piped from a spring in a neighbour's field. There is a place at the end of the house though, which is always wet and this, until fairly recently, was the site of the well which supplied all the water for the house and the dairy that was here in Victorian times. It wouldn't take much digging there to reinstate a well, but lining it to prevent the sides collapsing would be more of a challenge.
    I'm no expert on drilling but I suspect it would cost much more than 300 euros for a drill rig/auger that could go down 6m for a hole of any size. You cannot dig or manoevre in a deep narrow hole and some spoil would need removing and the sides making safe and watertight too. It might mean making a much larger hole than you need to achieve what you want.
  • There are construction site rules that don't allow excavations to that depth without the sides being sloped back or stepped so they don't collapse in on anybody inside the hole. I think the idea is that it is not a good idea to become buried under a couple of tonnes of soil.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 87,800
    edited June 2021
    Depending on amount etc, you may have to apply (and pay for) a licence to extract water.  

    Best to contact the Department for the Environment

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • AlbeAlbe Posts: 135
    Thanks everybody x the contribution.

    If I'm at all allowed or not was one of the early questions I asked myself. So I spoke with the local authority already and they confirmed I am allowed, within some limits of course, not even need to apply.

    Wells as much as 10m deep (and I don't want it this deep, less), are often only 10-15cm in diameter. No chance for any human to fall in.

    Yes, the side "walls" could in principle collapse and obstruct the shaft. That's why immediately after the drilling a tube, normally plastic or metal, has to be inserted.

    I don't know how deep I would need to drill (drill, not dig) to find water, but within a quarter a mile of here I have at least one stream and two small lakes/ponds, so this gives me hope.
  • philippasmith2philippasmith2 Posts: 3,671
    As you mention the cost in Euros, obviously you aren't in the UK so any advice from the UK may not be relevant to your particular locality.
    Checking with your local authority , as you have done, is obviously the first step - but at what depth you can feasibly expect to extract water is a matter of research.  
  • AlbeAlbe Posts: 135
    Oh, right, I thought I wrote it but not, I didn't...
    I'm near Hamburg, Germany. Same latitude and climate as Manchester.
  • Would it cost that much to get a specialist to do it properly instead of doing a potentially bad job and with a probability of causing damage to your property or the water table? Sometimes we have to admit that some jobs are the domain of the specialist and let them get on with it. After all water is such an important resource that we shouldn't take for granted. 
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
  • AlbeAlbe Posts: 135
    Some more: when I enquired with the authorities to check if I need permission or not I did ask already how deep is the water

    Short answer: we can't tell, we don't know 😵.

    Amazing I don't need permission, here in Germany they always make you feel things are either compulsory or forbidden 🤣😬🥴
  • If the authorities can't advice...then even more need for someone who knows what they're doing to advice you. 
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
  • philippasmith2philippasmith2 Posts: 3,671
    That's a bit surprising that your authority can give you permission without actually having a clue as to whether or not it is actually possible to successfully do the deed.  I guess the German authorities are about on the same level as the UK - no idea  :D
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